Portrait of Arabia Eastbound direction JANUARY 2023



  • edited February 24

    @British - Everyone has their likes and dislikes. However, I'll point out that countries with repressive regimes usually have low crime rates. Saudi Arabia is an example.

    If low crime is a major factor for you, there are places in this world where you could live. (of course, watch out for when they come for you.)

    As far as gratuitous displays of wealth are concerned, there were many more than the few I mentioned. I liked Noreen’s comment “Vegas on steroids.” There was one place that sprinkled gold flakes on a cappuccino. No value except to show that the person buying had a lot of money.

    No, I respect your opinion, but Dubai and the UAE were not for me.

  • Mike it’s good to get differently opinions about these trips. Anyone who feels like Mike does, now knows not to visit the area. That’s absolute fine. I do think though that this tour will become very popular.

  • The transformation and progress of Dubai from decades ago is in itself very fascinating. There are interesting you tubes to view Dubai, originally a fishing village at the time and how looked like 20 years ago to what it is now. That is really not that long ago.

  • Mike it’s good to get differently opinions about these trips. Anyone who feels like Mike does, now knows not to visit the area. That’s absolute fine. I do think though that this tour will become very popular.

    I think it depends on the kind of tourist who goes there. If they're the kind of tourist that only looks at the surface they may like the place. But if they're the kind of tourist that looks a bit deeper into the country, they may come away as I did.

    Regarding the incidence of kidney failure in workers who returned from contracts in the Persian Gulf region, here's a story about it.

  • I spent a year in Bahrain courtesy of my Uncle, before the invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent war. I got out the day the air strikes began. A lot has changed since then. I might go back, but have way too many other much more interesting places to see that are much, much higher on my list. We got to see other places, like Muscat, Oman and the emirates, but it just didn't interest me at the time, and even now, meh!

  • edited February 24

    Mike, you have to have a subscription to the Washington Post to read your article
    I still think the tour will be popular. There are lots of places I visit that don’t exactly suit my outlook on life but I still go. Luckily we can all choose where we want to visit without caring about whether others like it or approve or not. I guess that it why Tauck offers so many choices, to try to please as many customers as possible.

  • edited February 25

    According to the article, kidney problems are happening around the word, not just to foreign workers from Nepal, Pakistan etc. working in the Middle East, but also to manual laborers who work in hot climates everywhere and do not stay properly hydrated. Not mentioned, but I would bet it is also a problem in Mexico and the central valley in California, Texas, etc. From personal experience I know for a fact that dehydration is a contributing factor to kidney stones.

    "That link has been observed among workers toiling in rice fields in Sri Lanka and steamy factories in Malaysia, from Central America to the Persian Gulf. As the world grows hotter and climate change ushers in more frequent and extreme heat waves, public health experts fear kidney disease cases will soar among laborers who have no choice but to work outdoors.

  • milmil
    edited February 25

    MikeHenderson just so you Know, I've been in Dubai 4 time, have friends living there... and I always felt safe and well protected at the hotels as they knew I was traveling on my own.
    Yes, some private construction companies were exposed of abusing their workers several years ago, not offering proper medical care, breaks, water etc...
    The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum passed a ruling about 8 years ago or more, time goes by fast, were breaks as well as, compensations in case of any injury occurrence and full medical service should be provided to all the const. workers.
    and I know they have a government department besides the labor ministry, that does check on all the conditions (I have family that it's currently finishing a project there) as off the houses they live in, I don't know, but if there is 1,2,6 of 10 living inside the house it's mostly because they want to save all the money to support their families back home and to keep themselves surrounded by who they know
    As is, now a days Dubai has one of the toughest work regulations there is. I'm not saying they are perfect, or Saints , we are not either, right?

    But just after 1 trip, or the opinion of a tour guide, you cannot condemn a country or their people. If freedom, it's the right to get drunk and
    destroy the city and monuments... or show no respect for other citizens or their lives, I rather have none.

    I'm not sure if you visited the Museum of the Future, but " I DID! " and it is fantastic, it's all about the vision the world of the future; not only what Dubai will be like, but the entire planet, how they can stop and protect and reverse the effects of global warming, improve human health, developing programs to teach future generations, the advances on the medical field etc.. It is very educational and promising.

    Also, the definition of Dubai being a Vegas on Steroids. cannot be more wrong, perhaps, people should wear their Bifocals to see how family oriented, drug free it is... not to mention that sex-oriented attractions are prohibited., unless you go to the specific private place for the wealthy "Harby Weinstein" would like to hang out. and these places are illegal & under cover...- and by the way, we do have those here.... too.
    So, I respect everyone's opinion, but I don't agree with the facts.

    and for Mike, yes! do please!! stay away from the UAE,

    PD: this comment it's not directed to Mike, I respect his point of view. I don't know this man, so it's not my intention to attack him.

    My general observation... after reading some comments on different subjects though the Forum...
    Yes, I like to observe human behavior.


    " If the Tauckers; after many trips are not capable of admiring and accepting different cultures, believes and lifestyle or what they do...and will only criticize... what it's different to them...

    ** Then you have learned nothing, you have wasted your money, stay home. **

  • Mil - I totally disagree with you on your opinion of Dubai. You are correct in stating that the government passes rules in favor of the migrant workers, however, they just pass laws and actually do very little to help the workers. It is all talk in my opinion. Also, I suggest that you Google ``How are conditions in Dubai for migrant workers". It will shock you. If we don't visit a country we have no idea whether we would enjoy it or not as we all have different likes and dislikes.

    I have nothing more to say on this subject but thank you all for your different opinions as I enjoyed reading them.

  • We all have different reasons for traveling. I travel for several reasons...to learn about different cultures and to make a reasonable attempt to immerse myself in that culture. I make a concerted effort to not take along any preconceived notions of what "should be" and I certainly try to leave any western ideology at home. I always remember that I am a guest in the host country.

    Perhaps those of us who are not American by birth and/or have lived in other countries are able to be a bit more tolerant of others. Perhaps. This is merely my opinion based on my personal experiences.

    Traveling keeps me humble.

  • Thank you Noreen and Mil. Noreen, I just read three different articles. Two of the Companies mentioned mistreating migrant workers are American companies, anther mentioned was a.French one. Most are private companies and don’t take notice of the law. Just like anywhere else, it becomes a huge task to catch up to do anything.
    We are also not saints, look at how our Black Americans have and are being treated and even we women have been second class and are still not equal despite the laws out there. Look how poor the minimum wages are here in this country. Look at the millions of people who don’t have health insurance, We are not perfect either.
    We love i jute richest country in the world, I’m not asking the governments to build fancy buildings but I would like to not have huge potholes all over the major highways where I live.
    I still personally recommend a trip to Dubai, and if j you are interested seek some local organizations who can show you the less than perfect parts of it or meet some of the migrant workers.

  • I am booked on this trip in January 2024. I’m not a lover of cruises but the trip looks wonderful. Can someone who has been on this trip tell me how the waters in the Persian Gulf were? Was it a smooth sailing body of water? Thanks

  • Yes, we had one night where it was choppy. We were fine but some were more troubled. It really is a great tour absolutely full of excursions, way more than we have experienced on our other two small ship trips with Tauck . I think next year will be cut back because the Tour directors had found it tough fitting everything into the allotted time.

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